Saturday, June 14, 2008 11:49:53 PM
Apple once again proved it could wow the public. At this year's WWDC Steve Jobs announced the next version of the iPhone. The next generation features two different models, an 8GB version costing $199 and a 16GB version costing $299. These prices are cheaper than the previous iPhone, but don't let that fool you. New iPhone 3G users are required to sign a two year contract with AT&T that is $10 more a month than the previous iPhone's plan.
The new iPhone plan is rumored to feature unlimited data, but only 200 text messages, meaning if you send a lot of text messages it's going to cost you more money (how text messaging isn't part of the data plan confuses me). The first generation iPhone users weren't presented with an option to upgrade their phones either. They'll most likely have to cancel their existing contract with AT&T (paying cancellation fees) and then sign onto the more expensive plan. I'm sure people will still manage to fork over the money for the new phone so expect a flood of the old phones to hit the resale market.
This new phone is amazing though! Of the new features we'll see a plastic back, where the previous one was aluminum. The phone has also been fitted with 3G and GPS capabilities. And, umm, that's about it. Besides faster transfer speeds and GPS capabilities there really isn't anything new with this phone. The rumors of tactile feedback proved false and the design really hasn't changed. Yet despite this everybody is excited over this new phone. I'm' personally a little confused why. I don't find it practical to pay roughly $100 a month for a phone contract. I'm paying about $35 a month for my phone now and I see no reason to double my contract price. But Apple is great at marketing and people keep buying their products regardless of price.
At the WWDC Apple announced the ability to use third party applications. This included some great looking games like Super Money Ball. This brings up my next point, the thing I never understood about the iPhone is the ability to play media on it at the expense of the phone's battery life. You're still unable to swap out the battery so that means once you drain the phone's battery watching videos you're unable to make phone calls. The games coming out look great, but I'm afraid these high-end OpenGL graphics are going to put more strain on the battery.
I think the iPhone is a great gadget, but it's overpriced. The iPod Touch is a great alternative as you avoid the monthly contract, but have roughly the same set of features. Of course every update to the software you're stuck paying for. The iPod Touch 2.0 software is going to cost you $10 for example. If you're a fan of the form factor, but not the price (or AT&T lock in), you can find some appealing clones from the other carriers.